I was never one of those writers who always knew she wanted to write, or for that matter, always wrote. I was born in the Bronx, but our family moved to a Westchester suburb when I was in the second grade. Our back yard abutted the Pleasantville Country Club golf course, a very modest, snack shack sort of place.
Oddly, I don't ever remember seeing any golfers, but they must have been there invading my dreams. I went to St. Thomas Aquinas down the street, where everyone was a transplant from the city and "writing" was called "penmanship." At Pleasantville High, I served a brief stint as editor of the school newspaper before the advisor cut off funding to keep me from printing another word. After which, I spent one year at Skidmore College studying art before dropping out to study life. Eventually I made my way to Boulder, Colorado, where I met my husband, who'd grown up in Manhattan.
It seemed everyone in Boulder was a transplant from the city too. But no sooner had I arrived, then he decided to move his business to Gloucester Ma. where he had inherited a family summer home. We winterized the old farmhouse, somewhat, and filled the barns with animals. Over the years we've had hundreds of chickens, geese, ducks, some guinea fowl, dozens of rabbits, a pair of retired 4H ponies, many goats, and a couple of pigs. Right now we're down to two goats and a pig, a domestic herd of cats and a standard poodle. We also produced three children.
While they were young, I chipped away at an undergraduate degree at Harvard Extension, mostly to escape the children, but also because I knew I could not nag them about the value of education if I didn't have one myself. My major was social sciences, and this being the 80's and early 90's, I wrote dozens of academic papers on postmodern deconstructionist gender roles. It was the only serious writing I had ever done up to that point and it was completely unintelligible to anyone without a working knowledge of Derrida and Lacan. To insure that its students did not enter the world believing that that's what writing was, Harvard required degree candidates to take two expository writing courses.
So I grit my teeth --- I had survived the math requirement, I would survive writing. To be on the safe side, I took the most basic course they offered, Word Choice, where I learned how to use a thesaurus. Then I took Writing From Life, which was a memoir course, although at the time I didn't even know what that meant. No matter, I learned how to cannibalize my life for the page, and in the middle of the semester, the professor called me into her office and said I should be writing fiction. At first I thought she was accusing me of lying, but it turned out she was just encouraging me to stray from the truth. So I strayed, and here I am.